Resting Smoked Cheese

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My understanding that it's a good idea to form a dry surface around fresh cheese to act as a shell to protect it from drying out. That's why cheese wheels are made with a rind. Since we are smoking virgin cheese after it's been removed from a rind, my understanding is it's beneficial to give it some sort of protective shell to act as a rind. And I think that's the purpose of drying out the exterior. I think JckDanls 07 JckDanls 07 who posted in post #34 above is on to something regarding the bag. I think he's saying a bag wouldn't do much relative to a wrap. I think that a bag would absorb moisture from the air inside it and aid in drying out the surface of the cheese since it forces the cheese to rest in a dry-air environment. But it seems to me, wrapping the cheese in butcher paper or parchment paper for a couple days would accomplish the same task much more efficiently.

An analogy might be putting your hand in the 38 degree refrigerator for a few secs vs putting your hand in a bucket of 38 degree water for a few seconds. Which wicks the heat in your hand better?

OTOH, I've read that soft cheese will develop a fragile patina from the smoke. That's a good thing, but that patina, being so fragile and delicate on a soft cheese, can be disturbed if it's handled. So perhaps a bag would be best for a soft cheese?

So far I have stayed away from smoking soft cheeses except for the creamed cheese my smoked onion dip recipe. But maybe I'll try it some day.

Good luck
Can't see resting smoked cheese in this paper, being an issue. Only doing 24 small blocks. What the heck. It's fun to experiment. Going to rotate the two wraps tomorrow. Now have a smoker rack resting on top to press the top paper in the upper wrap down to the cheese blocks.
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The first time I smoked cheese, I let it rest overnight in the main fridge. I did not think what effect that would have on everything else in the fridge... including the lettuce for the next day's salad. Shockingly, maybe not *every* meal needs a heavy smoke flavor! My very next purchase was a dedicated minifridge for smoked cheeses (and a few porch beers).
I'm reading through this thread, and my question is: Do you do your "drying rest" at room temperature, or is it better to do that in a refrigerator?

It seems like you'd get better drying at room temp than in a fridge.
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I'm reading through this thread, and my question is: Do you do your "drying rest" at room temperature, or is it better to do that in a refrigerator?

It seems like you'd get better drying at room temp than in a fridge.
I think that's an excellent point. I don't know, I'm not a cheese expert. I do know that cheese ages very very quickly at room temp vs 'fridge temp - at least the soft cheeses. My favorite cheese in the world is Cambozola black label (a mix of camembert and gargonzola) which ages very quickly, even when it's refrigerated. It ages so fast, nobody in my area here will stock it anymore. They complain it goes bad faster than they can sell it. I have to drive down to Bethesda to a super uppity grocery (Balducci's) to get it. But man it is good on a nice cracker. But Cambozola is a soft cheese.


Maybe a hard smoked cheese sitting out a couple days isn't a big deal?
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I'm reading through this thread, and my question is: Do you do your "drying rest" at room temperature, or is it better to do that in a refrigerator?

It seems like you'd get better drying at room temp than in a fridge.
Letting it rest for a few hours at room temp is key to getting it to dry out.
I use Alder pellets to smoke the cheese I do...also sometimes hickory., but mostly Alder.

I started my smoked cheese adventure almost 50 years ago, and alder was my go-to flavor wood. As my method and smoke generation evolved, so did my selection of flavor woods. It's funny, but I think proper "smoke control" produces a better product than selecting one wood over another. In general I like fruit woods better than nut woods, but a good blend can be outstanding on something as delicate as cheese or butter.
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Time to bring this thread back to life. Anyone duin' cheese during these wintery days? Thinking of smoking more Mozzi cheese to give away.
Too cold here. The cheese would freeze.

Yeah I need to get started. I'm using Lilac wood because we got some out back. It's already in the shed aged. I need to get into character.
Just smoked these 18 Mozzarella blocks. Actually it was3 racks of 6 blocks on each. Cold smoked for 3 hours using apple dust.


Getting wrapped up in pink butcher paper......


And into the mini fridge for a couple days to rest. Afterwards will vacuum up and back into Mr. Mini.

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Recently picked up some cheddars, gouda, feta, and pecorino romano to restock the cheese supply. We'll see how the weather looks. Have some round eye and a whole slew of sausages to smoke first.
I like to pair an extra sharp cheddar with hickory smoke. After smoking it I let it sit for a few hours on the counter. Then I'll dress it up and vacuum seal it. I usually lose it in the back of the beer fridge for 3-12 months. A few examples left from winter 2022.

Carroway seed

Crushed red pepper

Black pepper

Works very well for us and makes great gifts.
Ive been cold smoking cheeses for the last 5 years. First year was ashtray, second was alright. third year was the aha moment. Simple method - i'm about to do 40 lbs of mixed pepper jack, mozz, monterey jack, mild cheddar

1 Smoke your cheese, to your liking - i will do about 2-3 hrs with hickory pellets depending on the style of cheese
2 rest in fridge on drying racks (My cheeses are cut into approx 1/4lb sticks) overnight or longer. cheeses will continue to dry out.
3. rinse cheeses with tap water or whatever you want. Red Wine is an interesting choice.
4. Put into vacuum bags WET. As the semi-dried cheeses absorb the water and equalize their hydration, the smoke flavor and any other flavors you want to add to the cheese (like the wine) will be carried into the cheese, speeding up a normal rest period by many weeks. and the vacuum pack will be better. In some cases i will add a little extra water. - by 'a little' i mean like 1/2teaspoon max.

Up to a year later in the fridge the 'wet' cheeses have survived much better with no losses to mold and the flavor is much more mellowed through the whole cheese.
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